16 Jul 2008

Ousted Fiji PM confident elections in Fiji to be held next year

3:28 pm on 16 July 2008

Fiji's ousted prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, remains confident elections will be held next year

Mr Qarase was deposed in the 2006 coup, led by the military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, who vowed to weed out corruption.

Mr Qarase has met the Pacific Islands Forum Ministerial contact group which is to assess Fiji's progress towards holding elections for the second time in less than three years.

The meeting took place despite objections by Commodore Bainimarama who said he didn't want the ministers to get confused with anti-government talk.

The military commander says for elections to go ahead, Fiji needs a sound financial and economic footing, with electoral reform also undertaken.

Mr Qarase says he's optimistic the elections will go ahead next year.

"Well there have been a lot of negative vibes around about the elections in 2009. There are a a lot of people who believe that hey may not take place at all, I remain an optimist I have a feeling that the elections should be held next year."

Laisenia Qarase says he does intend to stand as a candidate while the military has said the ousted SDL government won't come back to power.

The Forum ministers will make a statement this afternoon following this week's meetings.